|Thursday, January 13, 2005
Anti-Intellectual Dubya: George W. Bush has been labeled by his critics as an anti-intellectual who lacks curiosity. This may be true, I don't know. His press clippings, like any other politician's, are drafted by his friends and enemies. His public image is just that--an image. What lies beneath, from the vantage points available to most of us, the general public, is left to conjecture--conjecture fueled by our own agendas.
In next week's Time, John Dickerson focuses on Dubya's recent book of the month choices. If you look carefully at your computer screen, you can see drops of Dickerson's disdain staining the piece, like tears on a Dear John letter. Dickerson doesn't like Dubya at all--that's clear. But who does he like?
[His interest in serious books] does not make Bush a closet intellectual. Bill Clinton read widely and voraciously, sampling and skimming ideas like a whale does plankton. Bush is more particular, and when he locks onto a book, he shows his trademark discipline, almost always reading it to the last page.
Ah-ha! Bill Clinton's his man.
Clinton: Man of Ideas. Like "Don't ask, Don't tell." Like the death penalty for mentally retarded criminals.
We know Clinton certainly skimmed Gingrich's "Contract with America" and liked most of it--at least halfway (Dick Morris' influence here).
To borrow a Chomsky crutch: I could go on and on.
My point is that if you're going to scoff at Dubya, you don't exactly help your cause by waxing idealistic all over Bubba.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Profane Pundit: Maybe I don't read Slate's Jack Shafer often enough. If I did, then I'd know whether casual cussing is his bag. Check this in his recent column on CBS's Memogate report (my highlighting):
Feldstein points out that the two in-house lawyers who vetted the Bush service-record story received no direct reprimand in the panel's review and no discipline from superiors. Maybe the lawyers are irreproachable, or maybe the eight lawyers on the panel (Thornburgh plus the Kirkpatrick & Lockhart crew) protect their own, but the absence of Heyward, Rather, and the lawyers from the report's shit list only buttresses Feldstein's thesis.
The term "shit list" is thrown in entirely in stride. Is Slate looking for ways to separate itself from the safe-for-grandma prose of the print media? Or did Shafer mean "hit list"?
I'm no prude when it comes to cussing. I don't care one way or the other. But this seems worth noticing. Doesn't it?
I mean, for the record, I just had to teach my GoLive's spell-check the word "shit."
Response To The CBS Report: The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last wonders how CBS's independent report's findings can possibly jive with it's conclusions. The findings indicate the memos were definitely forgeries; despite this, "[t]he Panel was not able to reach a definitive conclusion as to the authenticity of the Killian documents."
Last's initial response to the report earlier in the week was pretty solid.
Really, I don't think anyone should be surprised by the hesitance of the report to fully indict CBS. That's what happens when an organization sponsors its own "independent" investigation. It's left to others to shine a more thorough beam of light on Memogate. And there are more than enough eager and able volunteers for the job.
We were briefly spoiled by the NY Times' investigation of and reporting on Jayson Blair. But the CBS Report is more typical of the genre.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
On Vacation: I'm off this week--from my day job. So blogging could come in light flurries through MLK Day.
Monday, January 10, 2005
It's The Timing, Stupid: I've heard a few reports citing CBS News' alleged rush to get the Memogate story on the air before the election. If true, the reports wonder, then can we assume the motive behind this "rush" was anti-Bush bias?
Talk about soft ball analysis.
The rush, in my view, was far more sinister than the "landing the punch before the election" theory implies. The rush, in fact, was to get the report on in the week immediately following the Republican convention. The rush took place in order to affect Bush's post-convention bounce in the polls.
The Republican convention ended on a Thursday night; CBS was running promos for the Bush-Guard story as early as the following Sunday. Any questions?
Memogate Report Released: As a result, CBS has fired four employees. Of course the producer of the original report, Mary Mapes, was one of the casualties:
Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes action a clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.
An "appearance of political bias"? I call it being caught red-handed. The full report is available via PDF download.